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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 19 Mar 1940

Vol. 79 No. 9

Local Government (Remission of Rates) Bill, 1940—Second Stage.

I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time. The purpose of this Bill is to give partial remission of rates on new residences completed within two years from the 1st October, 1939. The remission, which is two-thirds of the full rates for a period of five years, or until the next general revision of valuations, whichever period is the shorter, will also be given in respect of the improvement of residences. It is a continuation of the legislation embodied in the Local Government Act, 1927, as extended, but confines remissions to buildings or parts of buildings constructed and designed as residences for separate families. Local authorities must satisfy themselves that the building getting remission is used as a residence before giving a remission in any year.

The procedure with respect to determining the houses that are entitled to remission will be the same as hitherto. The Commissioner of Valuation will indicate the houses on the valuation list. There will be the same right of appeal against these determinations as there is against valuations under the Valuation Acts. The Bill will not affect exemptions or partial exemptions from rates granted under other Acts. Under the Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous) Act, 1932, remission of rates on houses in respect of which State grants are paid was allowed for a period of seven years. This will still continue, and these grant-aided houses do not therefore come within the present Bill. Neither do houses which under the Housing (Gaeltacht) Act, 1929, have got relief from rates for 20 years. The remaining classes that do not come within that definition of residences for the purposes of the Bill are houses erected under the Housing of the Working Classes Acts and Labourers Acts.

Under Section 2 (3) does the levying of rates by local authorities cover all money raised by rates for whatever purpose? If so, it includes unemployment assistance, a question that has been discussed at some length, and which I do not propose to go into now. I ask the Minister to consider seriously that whatever case might be made for the benefits which new buildings may eventually give local authorities, and therefore encourage them to do without a certain amount of rates from these buildings for a period, there is no such argument in saying that on new buildings a local authority may levy only one-third of the amount they have to collect for the Government for unemployment assistance, while the rest of the ratepayers have not only to pay their own contribution but, in addition, two-thirds on all new buildings. In this case the local authorities get no benefit whatever from the fund. They are merely acting as a collecting agency for the Government. The Minister should consider whether that section should not be amended, by allowing unemployment assistance to be levied on the full value, and not on the reduced value as is suggested by the Bill.

Will this Bill affect houses built by local authorities? I have in mind the case of a local authority that built what might be described as better-class houses, on which no subsidy was given, and which were sold on the hire-purchase system. I think that should be encouraged, and that this Bill should apply to such cases. No subsidy was given by the local authority or by the Government. People of that class should be encouraged to buy their houses. The case I am referring to is one where they did that, and I consider they should get the same consideration as other people got. I am not referring to houses that are let in the ordinary way at a rent, and on which the local authority got a subsidy, but to houses that were sold at the economic value on the hire-purchase system. Some consideration should be given to such people.

I will consider that matter, but I do not think it would come under this Bill.

There will not be many cases of the kind. I think they should get every encouragement.

Mr. A. Byrne

Will the Minister reply to the question asked by Deputy Benson?

I told the Deputy that I would consider the matter. I do not think, however, that this is the right Bill for that.

Mr. Byrne

When will the opportunity arise for dealing with Deputy Benson's point?

On the Committee Stage of this Bill.

Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 10th April, 1940.